But the sense of wonder, that the pictures evoked, inspired us to countdown some of the most iconic secret doors from the world of literature. As we batted recollection back and forth it became clear that the best examples could be found in our favourite children’s books. So here are the secret doors to magical places that we can dreamt up. Can you think of any others?
Platform 9 ¾ - Harry Potter and the Philosopher’
As you’ll see from Lizzy’s extraordinary page, some doors aren’t doors at all. Perhaps the most important door in JK Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter mythology is Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station, because without it Harry would not have discovered Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry at all.
In popular culture terms Platform 9 ¾ is extremely significant, and this is illustrated by the installation of an actual Platform 9 ¾ sign hung at the station along with half a trolley full of luggage on its way through the invisible door. This proved popular with fans of the books and films, and the station has since opened a Harry Potter themed shop near to the site.
The Wardrobe – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
It might not seem like much originally, but if Lucy Pevensie hadn’t opened the dusty, unremarkable door of a wardrobe in the spare room of an English country house, her siblings would never have discovered the magical fantasy world of Narnia; and one of the most famous and enduring children’s stories of all time would not have begun.
It took a number of years for CS Lewis’s classic novel to earn a popular following, but it is now one of the most beloved tales of all time. In fact, such is the passion for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe that Time Magazine listed it in its ‘All Time 100 Novels’ and a series of Hollywood films have been produced to captivate new generations. The legacy of the book is that surely all children have climbed into their wardrobe in the hope of meeting Mr Tumnus and the majestic Aslan.
The Door – The Secret Garden
Literature is teeming with stories of secret doors to magical places. It was the discovery of a key to the secret garden which at her Uncle’s Yorkshire Manor which leads young Mary Lennox to take her seemingly crippled cousin Colin into the garden, only for his legs to become fine and for his health to improve.
The book is now considered one of the finest in the Frances Hodgson Burnett canon, and a classic of children’s literature. Rather than creating a world which is truly magical, the book could be read as championing the power of positive thinking, play and happiness. It’s a message we shouldn’t lose sight of, even as we get older.